On joining the union - Carrie Olsen Voiceover

On joining the union

Carrie Olsen VoiceoverI’ll be honest. I haven’t booked the right kind of work for me to need join the union yet. I’m totally open to it, and I kind of hoped I would have gotten some crazy huge jobs that necessitated my joining by now, but that hasn’t happened. I’m still doing great in my career, though. And at this point I honestly wonder if joining the union as a result of booking one big union job would even be worth it. I’m making a living doing voiceovers, and I’ve never done a union job. If I joined and had to stop working with the clients I’ve built up to this point, I’d be back to working part-time (or not working at all). I know I could convert some of the work I’m currently doing to union work, but what if my clients didn’t go for it? I’m sure some would, but I’m also sure that some wouldn’t.

Which begs the question: Should I even be concerned with joining the union?

There were some great pros and cons discussed during a WOVO Twitter chat. I’ll highlight the most compelling ones here.


  • Pension and health insurance
  • Set, and often better, pay for jobs (I won’t say union scale is universally better)
  • Guaranteed pay
  • Faster payment
  • You get voting rights


  • You can no longer do non-union work
  • You have to pay an initiation fee

Pension and health insurance would be nice. But as long as I’m able to pay out of pocket for my health insurance from my earnings doing non-union work, I don’t see the need to make the switch.

If you’re just getting started in VO, chances are most of the jobs you’ll come across will be non-union until you get an agent. So, just work on building up your business as much as possible with your non-union clients. If the opportunity to join the union does present itself, just weigh your pros and cons. If you’re getting enough union work to justify potentially losing some of your non-union clients, then go for it. And let me know how it goes.

Good talk,


Carrie Olsen

I'm a full-time professional voice actor and voiceover business coach. I have done work for Taco Bell, REI, BNSF Railway, Bank of America and ESPN to name a few. I dreamed up this community of voice actors to connect, grow, learn and get mentorship from each other. We're the most dedicated group of voice actors on the net, and we're here to help each other build and sustain profitable voiceover businesses.

Carrie Olsen Voiceover